You have reached the web pages for the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, a research and teaching centre within the School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. The Centre’s remit is the consideration of how we live on planet Earth, with particular reference to the sky and cosmos as part of the wider environment.
The Centre’s work is partly historical, partly anthropological and partly philosophical. It has a wide-ranging remit to investigate the role of cosmological, astronomical and astrological beliefs, models and ideas in human culture, including the theory and practice of myth, magic, divination, religion, spirituality, architecture, politics and the arts. Our work considers the ways in which people have tries to live in harmony with the cosmos. It deals with the modern world as much as indigenous or ancient practices, and our work ranges from the study of Neolithic sites to medieval cosmology, the history of astrology in the ancient world, India and the west, the nature of space and place on Earth as well as in the sky, and the ethics of modern space exploration. We do not confine ourselves to any time period or culture.
The main qualification we teach is the distance-learning, on-line, MA Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, the only academic degree in the world which explores humanity’s relationship with the sky. There is no need to live in the UK to study this MA. We have a global community of students and scholars who connect on the web. Modules from the MA are also taken by students in other MAs at the University, including the MA in Ancient Religion, the MA in Body and Environment, and the MA in Ecology and Spirituality. We also contribute to the undergraduate module in Land, Sea and Skyscapes.
The Centre supervises PhD students, holds conferences, publishes books and articles, sponsors events and manages research projects. Our major research project of the moment is ‘Welsh Monastic Skies’, an investigation of the alignment of Welsh abbeys in relation to major features in the sky and land. We have been instrumental in developing the concept of the skyscape as a vital feature of human cultures.
Other current projects include the Harmony Initiative which explores how people can or do live in harmony with the planet and connects to wider environmental concerns, and the Sophia Tairona project which provides academic support for the Tairona Heritage Trust.
Our publications include the peer-reviewed history journal, Culture and Cosmos, and Spica, the on-line postgraduate journal. We also sponsor the Sophia Centre Press, a spin-out company from the University. For our wider outreach and impact activities please go to the Sophia Project.
If you are interested in the way we use the sky to create meaning and significance then the Centre may be the best place for you to study. By joining the Sophia Centre you enter a community of like-minded scholars and students whose aim is to explore humanity's relationship with the cosmos.
‘The work of the Centre is as broad as possible and the MA syllabus is ground-breaking, unique and innovative. We study the many ways in which human beings endow the cosmos with value and use the sky as a theatrical backdrop to tell stories and create meaning. ’